It also seems like there are as many Japanese restaurants along Hastings in North Burnaby as there are Italian restaurants. Now, for an area that has traditionally been Italian, it is somewhat of an oddity. But hey, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise as the same could be said about the entire stretch of Lonsdale in North Van and Broadway in Vancouver. One quick search and there are well over 1000 Japanese restaurants in the GVRD. As I've said over and over again, a very small percentage are actually Japanese owned and operated. Yet, Kazu Japanese Restaurant happens to be one of those and conveniently right along the aforementioned Hastings.
Despite the torrential downpour, I dragged the family out for some authentic Japanese that didn't include monstrous specialty rolls doused in an array of multi-coloured sauces (although I do like them when done well). We started out with an order of Assorted Sashimi consisting of tuna, tako, salmon, ebi, hokkigai and hamachi. Carefully prepared and plated, the pieces exhibited a nice sheen and fresh demeanor (as much as flash frozen can get). I found the hamachi especially nice being buttery with a rebound and tasting naturally sweet. Onto a few basic rolls, we had the Salmon Maki and BC Roll. At first, the rice was slightly warm, but one cooled, it had an appealing chewiness with mild flavours. The salmon skin in the BC Roll was slightly crispy with a good amount of meat attached. As for the Salmon Maki, the fish was aesthetically-pleasing and sweet tasting.
For the kiddies, we ordered the Nabeyaki Udon consisting of a modest amount of ingredients including spinach, shiitake, egg, ebi tempura, chicken and pink kamaboko. There was a decent amount of slippery chewy udon noodles bathed in a slightly sweet broth. We found the dashi to be on the milder side where the bonito was not very apparent. Also for the kiddies, we got some Chicken Karaage which my son devoured. I sampled some and understood his enthusiasm as each piece was evenly crispy on the outside with well-rendered skin. Additionally, the dish was easy on the grease. Inside, the meat was juicy and moist while seasoned just enough while not being salty.
Since he was so happy with the chicken karaage, my son started to ignore the Prawn Tempura (which is usually his favourite). Again, after dining on several pieces myself, I began to understand why he wasn't that thrilled with it. Although the ebi was large with a sweet meaty snap, the tempura batter was too doughy and laid on thick. Hence, the crispiness was only available in spots. And as it cooled, the exterior texture only got soggier. Arriving next were the Fried Shrimp Heads from our assorted sashimi. Viv and I love it when we get head... er... Anyways, these were fried up crunchy where the shell was completely edible without cutting up the inside of our mouths. With a squeeze of lemon, that was all that was needed to brighten things up.
Lastly, we added the Oyako Don just in case we weren't full. Well, we were full and Viv had a nice lunch the next day. The fluffy rice was topped with a good amount of moist chicken, egg and white onion. We would've liked to see the rice a bit more chewy, as it got even softer with the topping and sauce. And about that sauce, it was definitely sweeter and we could've used a bit more of it. Although the meal was far from outstanding, Kazu offered up authentic Japanese eats that was a nice break from the usual places along Hastings in Burnaby.
- Friendly people
- Things are done right for those who care
- Simple and focused menu
- A bit pricier than the others nearby
- Limited menu for some